In the whirlwind of news this week on the carousel of increasingly well-paid college football coaches, particularly frightening rumors have emerged about what USC proposed to Riley removing him from Oklahoma.
Monday afternoon, the story of Robert Hefner V tweeted that he had learned – but “not confirmed” – that Riley’s USC contract was worth $ 110 million and included provisions that the Pac-12 school would buy Riley’s two houses in Oklahoma for half a million dollars above the asking price.
Part of the tweet was debunked on Tuesday by a Norman, Okla-based real estate agent. working for Riley, who said Athletic that the school wouldn’t buy Riley’s properties, one of which had already been on the market for months. (The real estate agent has spoken on condition that his name not be released.)
Nonetheless, Hefner’s missive had been re-tweeted over 20,000 times, cited by a multitude of blue tick accounts, and further amplified in national media as Axes, Fox Sports et Pays SB.
Other details tweeted by Hefner have not been independently confirmed by Athletic or any other professional news media. A spokesperson for USC Athletics said on Tuesday that the private school would not disclose the terms of Riley’s employment contract, and emails sent to Athletes First, the athletic agency that represents Riley, did not not received a response.
So who is Robert Hefner V? A university sports journalist? A fan site operator?
No, Hefner is an Oklahoma City-based energy investor and the descendant of a prominent oil and gas family in the state. In an SMS conversation with Athletic On Tuesday, Hefner complained that his tweet was distracting from his family’s deepest passion.
“Frankly, I’m annoyed that so few people care about energy and so many people care about that sports tweet,” Hefner wrote after declining a phone call. “People will never know how hard I work on energy! “
When asked how he arrived at the information, Hefner said he received it from “someone I trust and who is likely to have knowledge” and that the information ” seems directionally correct ”.
Hefner certainly wouldn’t be the first non-journalist to walk out of left field on the internet with a big sports scoop – or, conversely, to trick the media into gleefully baseless and stimulating online gossip.
In 2012, a 16-year-old high school student posted on his Milwaukee Brewers blog the scoop, from an anonymous source, that Ryan Braun’s drug test had been compromised by the mismanagement of his urine sample.
When the New York Jets signed Free Safety Ed Reed in 2013, this nugget belonged to Jake Steinberg, a Wisconsin student who Illustrated sports later dubbed as “the energy broker for the Jets roster background”.
On November 1, Tom Campbell, Houston-based photographer and Texas A&M graduate, tweeted that he “heard a reminder [sic] from a credible source “that a monkey belonging to Texas special teams coach Jeff Banks mutilated a child who was a trick-or-treat for Halloween. Banks’ other close friend Danielle then took to Twitter to clarify that the monkey, which belonged to her, may have bitten a child, but Campbell’s tweet overestimated the nature of the attack.
More often than not, however, the overheated machinery of the sport’s scuttlebutt, especially in the viral age, drives crowds along many dead ends.
Earlier this year, 49ers car salesman and podcaster Javier Vega sent the NFL a Twitter buzz when he job that the team was “hammering out” the details of signing quarterback Matthew Stafford. When that ultimately didn’t happen, Vega mourned online.
“People say things on the Internet that they wouldn’t tell you to your face. That’s just how I took a lot of it, ”Vega said later. athleticism. “At the end of the day, I’m still a regular guy. “
Around the same time, ESPN.com was forced to remove a story that Miami Dolphins coach Chan Gailey was fired, after the erroneous news was posted through a pretending Twitter account. for ESPN reporter for the NFL, Adam Schefter.
For his part, Hefner played down concerns about the accuracy of his information.
“Regardless, it started a great conversation about what’s going on in college football right now,” Hefner wrote.
In the meantime, he added: “I enjoyed it and I had a good laugh. Friends that I haven’t spoken to in years, scattered all over the country, are reaching out to me, and it feels good to reconnect.